On 19 April 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) announced a suite of proposed reforms to the 457 visa programme (including its abolishment and replacement) as well as reforms to permanent employer sponsored visas. The more drastic of these changes are to take place from March 2018.
The sudden nature of these announcements cast a lot of uncertainty for prospective 457 visa applicants and current 457 visa holders. Fortunately, the Department have now provided further clarification for some of these individuals.
Through updating the fact sheet on their website, the Department have confirmed individuals who either held, or had applied for, a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 will be able to access certain existing provisions under the Temporary Residence Transition stream (TRTS) in circumstances where they:
- are under 50 years of age;
- have worked at least two out of the past three years on a subclass 457 visa.
Those who applied for a 457 visa on 19 April 2017 and after will be subject to the new provisions for the TRTS, requiring them at time of application to:
- be under 45 years (unless exempt); and
- have worked at least three years on a 457 visa.
Employer sponsored applications for permanent residency will also be subject to the new training requirements, which involve a mandatory contribution to the “Skilling Australians Fund”. These contributions are to be paid in full at time of nomination as follows:
- Businesses with turnovers of less than $10 million: $3,000
- Businesses with turnovers over $10 million: $5,000
What this means?
The announcement of these transitionary arrangements is late, but welcome, news particularly for individuals on 457 visas nominated in occupations that were removed from relevant lists following the governments announcements earlier in the year.
Individuals rushing to push through employer sponsored applications prior to March 2018 under a different stream, or who previously considered themselves ineligible under the TRTS as of March 2018, can now have a greater degree of comfort regarding their circumstances.
However, it should be noted that these announcements have not been accompanied by the relevant legislative instruments. Until these legislative instruments are available, the proposed transitionary arrangements do not have effect.
If you’re an existing 457 visa holder, or company with 457 visa holders feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone (03) 9016 0484 or (02) 8005 1484 for information about how we can help you.